Bayan Muna wants probe on NPA leaders' arrest

Posted at 03/26/14 11:18 AM

MANILA -- Bayan Muna party-list representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate and Neri Colmenares have filed a resolution seeking to investigate the arrest and detention of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

House Resolution 991 would direct the House Human Rights Committee to look into the alleged illegal arrest of the tiamzons and their five companions in Cebu last Saturday.

The committee would also be tasked to probe alleged violations of the joint agreement on safety and immunity guarantees (JASIG).

"The illegal arrest and series of violations imperil the peace process and the just approach for a peaceful settlement to the armed conflict," the resolution read.

The couple and five others underwent inquest proceedings at the multi-purpose hall of the Philippine National Police on Monday. The five are also facing charges for harboring a fugitive.

The National Democratic Front has asserted that the Tiamzon couple is covered by JASIG but the government panel insists otherwise.

Rachel Pastores, lawyer of the Tiamzon couple, said those listed in the JASIG list use aliases as a form of security.

Malacañang, however, said that while Benito used an alias, the NDF failed to prove his identity thus voiding the agreement.

His wife, meanwhile, jumped bail in December 1989 before the JASIG came into effect, making her ineligible for protection.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also noted that JASIG is only effective if there are ongoing peace talks, which is not the case.

De Lima also said the couple's criminal cases have nothing to do with the peace process.

The Tiamzon couple is facing cases of murder, multiple murder and frustrated murder before the regional trial court in Northern Samar. – with ANC